Inspired By Her Journey With Sickle Cell, T-Boz Discusses Her New CBD Line Aimed At Holistic Healing

Tionne ‘T-Boz-‘ Watkins named her 2017 memoir, “A Sick Life: TLC ‘n Me: Stories from On and Off the Stage.” The outspoken icon has said that choosing the title ‘meant so much to her’ because it encapsulated two of her biggest life challenges: a legendary, yet tumultuous career, and her health.

Since childhood, the chart-topping singer/songwriter has battled sickle cell anemia, a crippling, incurable disease that attacks the autoimmune system due to flawed hemoglobin cells. It disproportionately affects Black Americans, with approximately 1 out of every 365 diagnosed every year. Like the thousands of others facing the disease, Watkins has dealt with debilitating pain and has tried a myriad of tactics to manage the symptoms. What’s finally worked? CBD.

“I was able to make it through four tours without getting sick,” Watkins told ESSENCE in a sit down conversation. “And everybody who’s been on tour with TLC knows that’s astronomical for me, honey, because I am known for messing up a tour,” she shared transparently.

The pain can occur anywhere, but most often occurs in the chest, arms, and legs, according to Johns Hopkins. A sickle cell crisis can leave a patient with swelling of the hands and feet, vision problems and frequent infections among other uncomfortable markers.

Watkins said she struggled with pain most of her life and was initially reluctant to try CBD due to cultural misconceptions.

“I kept hearing about it, and like everyone else, I wasn’t educated, so I was like, oh, I don’t like weed,” she admitted. “It smells like booty, all this stuff,” Watkins said laughingly. She continued: “And they’re like, ‘girl, THC is the part that makes you high. CBD is the {pain relieving} component that is natural.”

Shortly after, she conducted her own research and took the advice of a friend who’d recommended using CBD-infused tinctures along with other items. After instantly seeing miraculous changes in her own health, Watkins took what she learned and launched her own CBD-based wellness brand Tionne Wellness in 2020.

She says the products are created from effective, natural ingredients and blended to enhance innate synergies between the botanicals and phytocannabinoids, or the naturally-occurring compound found in the cannabis plant. But Watkins said she’s not just jumping on the lucrative cannabis industry bandwagon to make money. She uses her own products daily.

“When I’m sick, I use it three times a day,” she told ESSENCE, sharing that the line’s Jump For Joy Pain Relief Balm is a favorite for alleviating her inflamed joints. “It works. I’m not one of those celebs that will take the money and just do an ad for something without knowing if it {a product is legitimate}. It works, and more people need to know about the power of CBD.”